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Constitution of the Emeritus Committee

  1. The Protestant Reformed Churches wish to conform themselves to the stipulations of Article 13 of the Church Order of Dordt which reads as follows: “Ministers who by reason of age, sickness, or otherwise are rendered incapable of performing the duties of their office, shall nevertheless retain the honor and title of a minister, and the churches which they have served shall provide honorably for them in their need (likewise for the orphans or widows of ministers) out of the common fund of the churches, according to the general ecclesiastical ordinances in this matter.”
  2. II. In order that this article (of the Church Order) be properly adhered to, procedure shall be in harmony with the following stipulations.
  3. The minister shall present his request for emeritation to his consistory, who shall decide upon his request with approbation of classis and synod. A professor of theology shall retire when he reaches the age of 70 and shall be declared emeritus.
  4. If sickness is the cause of his inability, he must furnish proof of this by a statement from two competent physicians.
  5. The minister of the Word (or professor) who legally has been declared emeritus in accordance with Section III shall qualify for support when the cause of his emeritation is either old age or continual sickness or ailment which hinders him in attending to the duties of his office.
  6. The support granted to the emeriti ministers (or professors) and to the widows and orphans of ministers (or professors) is not a dispensing of mercy but an administering to which the above-mentioned have qualified because of their long-term devotion to service in our churches, except in cases wherein, according to the judgment of ecclesiastical gatherings, one has not qualified for such support.
  7. The support of the emeritus minister or professor shall come from the “common fund of the churches” in harmony with Article 13 of the Church Order. The last congregation served by the minister must apply for the initial support at the classis under which it resorts, which application will include a recommendation concerning the financial needs of the minister.
  8. The supervision over the support of an emeritus minister or professor shall be the responsibility of the consistory in the church where he is a member.
  9. The classis, having taken cognizance of the request, shall place it in the hands of the Emeritus Committee.
  10. The synod shall elect the Emeritus Committee, which shall consist of three elders, who will serve for three years. Each member shall have his secundus. Annually one member shall retire, who shall be eligible for reelection. The committee shall choose a president and secretary out of its midst.
  11. The committee, having received the necessary information from the consistory involved, shall temporarily determine the amount of support to be given until the next synod. In the case of a professor of theology the committee shall follow the recommendation of the Theological School Committee as to the amount of support to be given until the next synod.
  12. The synod shall determine the assessment for this fund and stipulate the amount per family.
  13. The synodical treasurer shall regularly send the promised support to the emeritus minister or professor concerned.
  14. To persons who qualify for this support, the amount to be given shall be according to the need.
  15. A minister (or professor) who has been declared emeritus by reason of sickness or weakness, but later has regained his health, shall no longer have claim to support but is morally obliged to provide for his own needs.
  16. A minister (or professor) who has regained his health shall declare himself eligible for a call or follow another pursuit of life. The churches which have supported him shall then be free from this obligation.
  17. When an emeritus minister (or professor), being a widower, again marries, he shall have no claim to increased support, and if he dies, his widow shall not be entitled to support, unless she was a minister’s (or professor’s) widow previous to her last marriage and was receiving support.
  18. When a minister’s (or professor’s) widow remarries, she loses her right to support.
  19. The orphans of widows shall receive support until their training for some vocation has so far advanced that they can be regarded as being capable of providing for their own needs, provided they conduct themselves in a manner becoming to the children of the congregation.
  20. The committee shall annually audit the financial statement of the treasurer and compare it with the record of the secretary who functions as comptroller, and give a report to the synod. Moreover, the committee shall submit to synod an annual report of all its activities, receipts, disbursements, and balance on hand.
  21. This constitution may be amended or revised by synod whenever it deems this necessary.

(Cf. Acts of Synod, 1940, Art. 52; Acts of Synod, 1941, Art. 39, Suppl. VIII; Acts of Synod, 1942, Arts. 26, 33, 53; Acts of Synod, 1943, Arts. 61, 63, Agenda, pp. 87-90; Acts of Synod, 1960, Art. 78, Suppl. XXI; Acts of Synod, 1964, Art. 197; Acts of Synod, 1978, Art. 42; Acts of Synod, 1985, Art. 40, Suppl. XI; Acts of Synod, 1995, Art. 62, Suppl. XXI; Acts of Synod, 1999, Art. 72.)